A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
I can't believe my baby girl is 14 years old! Holy Cow! Where did the time go? She had such a special birthday, too. We enjoyed a quiet day...then in the evening ALL the youth in our ward (church group) came over and surprised her with a party!! It was SO awesome for her! And it made me so happy! You just can't top something like that! :) They brought cake and smashed her face in it (one of my favorite South/Central American traditions!), sang songs and danced, ate food, and played together. Neat.
Happy Birthday to my darling, talented, musical daughter! :)
Wow! What a Sunday! It was very reminiscent of our Sundays in Sri Lanka--LONG and gone from home ALL DAY LONG. Church was moved up to 8am, so we left home at 7:30--and luckily caught a ride with our neighbor, which was lovely because we had SO MUCH STUFF!! We made it church, and I got to play the piano for the primary--which is one of my most favorite things to do! The kids are SO funny, AND when Peter's in there, I get to translate for him during the sharing time lesson. It was such a funny day, as it honestly had a feeling of Christmas! Why is that? Well, the PROPHET was coming to Bolivia to speak to us! Wow! So after sacrament meeting, we had about 1 1/2 hours until buses were coming to pick us all up and drive us all up to El Alto to a big stadium where as many members of the church as could possibly make it were going to see and hear the prophet!
Well, there's a cute girl in our ward who has really taken a liking to my kiddos, and she apparently had a talent show at her school where she had to dance that day right after church and she BEGGED Claire to come. So Claire and I went with her (and her mom) to her to school to watch her dance. It's not one of our regular Sunday activities--since there was loud music blasting all over and food for purchase...and it was HOT! The sun here is killer in the middle of the day. We watched some dancers and wondered why they were there (ha ha), and saw some cute kids doing some funny things. We were getting a little worried when they started an hour late and each group kept adding more and more things to their presentations! GAH! We were on a timetable! We even got some food, and by that time Claire was super ticked and absolutely refused to eat any of it, so I was trying to shove it down while no one was looking. Luckily, I only ate about 1/3 of it, when the mom rushed over because her kiddo was starting! We watched her dance, then luckily Stephanie (the girl) was hungry and we had to go back to the church to make the bus, so she ate the rest of the food (very happily, I might add)!
We made it to the church JUST as the buses pulled up to pick everyone up! Whew! We loaded and headed out within minutes. After about 15 minutes on the bus, we all heard a loud 'WHOOSH', and wondering what it was, we pulled over. One of the back dualies had been slashed! Not sure if it was preexisting or if we ran over an entire glass panel...but it was gone! So, off we all piled out of the bus so they could change the tire! It was really ingenious, though--the bus driver put a piece of wood under the twin tire that was still whole, and they were able to change the other tire without having to raise the entire bus! Nice! It really took them only about 10 minutes to have it all done and all of us back on the bus! Exciting stuff!
We made it up to El Alto with no more exciting adventures--hardly even any traffic! But the line to get in was LOOOOONG! Whew! We stood in line for about 2 hours before we got in and sat down. We were pretty far, BUT that got us some good pictures AND Andrew had the forethought to bring his super awesome binoculars!! :D We all passed around snacks and the binoculars for the next 3 hours until the prophet came...then we got to listen! The fun part was that the prophet, his wife, and Elder Stevenson (one of the 12 apostles) and his wife all spoke in English!! They all had translators. Honestly, though, I still find it the WEIRDEST thing ever that I understand perfectly both the original speaker AND the interpreter. Just makes me giggle--I love it!
It was a wonderful meeting--with reminders to teach our children the important things in life: Keep the commandments of God; study the scriptures and the Life of Christ every single day; Serve others; Go to the temple!! Because really, what are the most important things in life? Our family and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That's it, really. Everything else is just superfluous. Yes, everything we do impacts those and those around us, so we should be living good, honest lives and trying to help our families and other people around us. And everything we do gives us experience that makes us who we are; that builds character and influences our path in life. But family and the gospel are where are all of that should be centered. Lovely.
After the meeting came the fun part: Getting out! HA! Try getting 5,000+ people out of a building with only 3 accessible doors to get out! Can we say nightmarish fire hazard?!? We eventually all lovingly shouldered our way out into the freezing cold El Alto night air (which was actually quite welcome after being really warm inside...), and one of the guys on our bus found us (we're not hard to spot--large family of North Americans tends to stand out a bit) and showed us to where the bus was. What a relief to sit down! We waited for everyone else on our bus to be found, then we headed home. Lovely Sister Luchy gave us a ride home--which was incredibly hilarious because we had SO MUCH STUFF--and we were home by 10pm, tired but uplifted from our day's experience.
Now we're well into our Monday. I let the big kids sleep in...so they'll be going to afternoon seminary today. We did some school this morning, then Claire had to go to the dentist (more root canal work). We passed by our dear friend's house to borrow a cello for a few weeks, then came back home. We did some group history, then Andrew and Josh tuned the cello (it's new and never been tuned) while Peter and I marked his Bible with fun pictures over some of the stories and Claire did some Chinese homework. Now Josh is working on a business class project: He has to turn in a 'Code of Conduct' for the business that he's starting. His teacher said he could either turn in the document OR make it into a video--well OBVIOUSLY he's making it into a video, and his siblings are starring in it...and they're making it rather silly and full of their trademark antics. I love how they all band together to help each other do these fun projects! I'm looking forward to seeing the final edit. I've heard they're almost done...
I'm off to clean my kitchen and make some beef stir-fry for dinner. Mmmmm...
On our way to see the prophet! Que emocionante! (Right before the tire exploded...more on that later...)
(Waiting for the tire to be changed...)
Whew. What a CRAZY week! So, while I posted a pic of Claire at Root Canal Visit #1, I didn't tell anything about the rest of that day...or Wednesday...or yesterday... It's 8am Friday morning, my kids are still sleeping, and you know what? After the week they've had, I'm going to let them sleep! I think I should probably even take myself and my laptop upstairs where they can't hear the clicking of my keyboard...
There. That's better. Now I can sit in my chair overlooking the valley of La Paz...and turn on the heater in my room. Brrr... We had a big lightning/rain storm again last night/early this morning, and that always makes it even colder in the am. By this afternoon, it'll warm up nicely, but right now, it's dark and cozy. :)
So, my weekly review...Tuesday was hysterical! Gah! We all got up early, finished up our school stuff so that Josh and I could head to the embassy again for his photography class that he's teaching...then Josh and I ran back to this area because we were supposed to meet up with a photographer guy who will be doing some workshops with us. Well, we had some miscommunications and missed him, so we set up to meet later that day. Josh and I ran home in time for me to get the boys ready to go to a primary activity and to meet up with Devin so we could take Claire to the dentist. Luckily, we have a lovely friend here who not only took the boys to the primary activity, but dropped Devin, Claire and me off a the dentist! Well, no surprise that at the dentist, Claire had some issues. She's been complaining of pain for quite a while now, and immediately the dentist said she'd need a root canal. Poor kiddo! Normally, for things like that, you'd want to get a second opinion...but this one actually was the second opinion. Before we left Sri Lanka, the dentist there said that she would need a root canal in that tooth in the near future. So, that future is now. They started, but didn't finish, so we'll be headed back there again next week. Good times.
After the dentist, we dropped Claire off at seminary (Josh met us there, too), then Devin and I went over to the phone company to see if they had any phones available yet...and they did! Yay! So, we sat there for 2 hours signing up Claire's new phone. We started the process for Josh's, but it takes SO LONG that his didn't finish that evening. He was sad. BUT, after I finished with Claire's phone, I ran with Josh over to meet the photographer. He's AWESOME! We talked about Josh's upcoming workshop and what he'll be doing (WOW!!), and we talked about future trips that we can take as a group for school outings--so I have two people/groups that will do school workshops for my kids!!! And the stuff we talked about...holy cow--we need to stay in Bolivia for like the next 7 years. There's just so much to do!!
After our LONG meeting, our new friend drove us home. We got there about the same time as Devin and Claire. Andrew and Peter ended up at the neighbor's house because we weren't home when they were done with their activity. Poor kids. We all reached home after 8pm. So tired!!
But then came Wednesday! Once again, we had to blast through our morning school work so that Josh and I could leave around 10am--a friend was coming to drive us around and show us where we could find some local things for Josh's shop class. I know I can order it--but it just seems like you can really find pretty much everything here if you know where to look! I'd much rather buy local... Anyway, we found a carpenter shop, and we found a REALLY cool area that is full of 'Home Depot' stuff--a whole street full of people selling tools and paint and rope and who knows what! It was more of a search party type outing, because we didn't really have time to just meander and find what we wanted, but now I know where to go when I get a minute!! It was so helpful!
We had to rush home by noon because then we were off to our co-op class! We started to walk there, but it started to rain, so we took a taxi. I think it would have been faster to walk. *eyeroll* The guy didn't listen to a thing I said...I KNOW I was speaking in Spanish!! He finally got us close, so we walked some more. Sheesh. We had a nice time at co-op. We chatted, the kids did a cooking class with Claire; the boys did a computer class; we learned some Christmas songs together, because we're thinking we'll make a little choir and sing carols at the embassy in December. The boys will be doing group cello together, hopefully starting next week. We're still working through the kinks of our co-op day, but it's a fun different thing to do.
We got home about in time to send Josh and Claire over to seminary class. We did some astronomy, and then I sent them off on their way. I had to stay at home and clean up the huge mess our kitchen had become from a few days of neglect. Devin met the kids and finished getting Josh's phone. Claire stayed at the church, since YW started in a bit. Josh came home to finish a photography project, then he and Andrew left to go to Young Men's activity. The three older kids were at the activity until 10:30pm! Sheesh! Peter wanted to stay up until they got home...silly kid! He didn't, but he sure tried! It was a LATE night!
However, not as late as last night! So yesterday, again, we had to stagger our schooling, since we met with the principal of the music place where we're arranging group cello/voice lessons for Andrew and Claire at 9am. Then Peter had a class at 9:30. Then Claire had flute lessons at 10:30. Then after all those classes and math and spelling (etc) were finished, all the kids (except Josh) and I went to the grocery store to do our weekly grocery shopping. That's always fun. :D
We got home, at lunch, did some history, then at 3pm, the boys and I had to leave to go to the library. We were also meeting Sergio to pay him for Josh's upcoming workshop. Claire had to stay behind because she had a class at 4pm. So, the boys and I caught a taxi and headed down to the library. We met Sergio and paid him. We returned, renewed, and checked out books. We went to the weight room and worked out for a bit. Then we walked a few blocks to the main street and caught a mini bus back toward home. Josh jumped out at the church because he had afternoon seminary that day, and the boys and I continued on to our house. We're learning the mini bus routes here, and it's AWESOME!!! There are these vans that drive specific routes all over the city--they have the names of the destinations on the windows--and you can just flag it down and pile in, and they take you along the route, and you can get out anywhere you want! AND it's SUPER cheap!! AND they don't mind that I'm piling in with my 3-4 kids! It's so great! I'll get a picture soon...they're everywhere!
After dropping Josh off, I came home and made dinner and cleaned things up, while Claire finished all of her afternoon classes. Devin and Josh got home around 6:30, we ate dinner, then Josh and Devin left at about 7:45 to go to the church, since we all had interviews with the bishop. I had to wait for Claire to finish her last class at 8, then we headed over, too. Our bishop is really great, and all of our interviews lasted about 30 minutes each!! Ha! After my interview, I left with Josh and Claire to go home and put the boys to bed--we left at almost 10pm! We caught a mini bus and made it home ok.
The five of us sat in the boys' room and chatted happily...waiting for Devin to come home so we could have scriptures and prayer together...except that we had a little accident... Josh was leaning against the wall, and his shoulder pushed the emergency panic button!! DOH! The alarm was SO LOUD blasting out of the front of the house! I felt so bad for the neighbors, since it was almost 11pm. The biggest issue was the fact that we had NO IDEA how to turn the darn thing off! Usually, when you arrive at post, they give you the low-down on the alarm system: how to turn it on, how to turn it off, etc. Well, they never did that for us. So our alarm was just blaring, and we had no idea what to do! Devin wasn't home yet, either! I called the marines at the embassy, and they notified the local guard. The local guard called and the roving patrol came and they were able to come in a disarm our alarm. Sheesh.
After all of that excitement, it was 11pm, and the kids were all WIRED--well, to be honest, so was I! Ha! By 11:30, they were mostly settled back in their beds. I had a terrible time trying to go to sleep! I was just thinking about so many things and planning things in my head. Usually, I read a book and that calms my brain down, but it was a really fun book, so it wasn't working properly! Ha! I didn't fall asleep until after 1am...and when my alarm went off at 5:30, I thought, Wow! It's a good thing I'm so awake! Then I promptly fell back to sleep. Oops! The kids missed early morning seminary and Devin left late for work. Ugh. I felt so bad! We had a REALLY great lightning storm this morning at about 4am!
I feel REALLY good this morning. No--really! I've had a throbbing headache all week, because I've been so tired! Now that I got almost no sleep, I feel FANTASTIC! HA! The headache is gone, and I'm ready to go get my day started! I know it's almost 9am, but I hear people downstairs, so I think some of them are up now. Time to get our Friday morning schoolwork done, and have art class, and see what else this day will bring! :O
The rain storms here are AWESOME!! I suppose the awesomeness is augmented by how awesome our view is from our house, but WOW! When there's lightning and thunder--oh goodness, it's SO COOL!! Our lightning storm last night was a perfect example of awesomeness. The lightning was blasting through the valley--and because we live in this bowl, the thunder echoes off the mountains and it's just awesome! Have I used the word enough yet? It's awesome. Another awesome thing about it is I don't have to water the grass. He he he... Although, that makes Peter a little sad, because he LOVES to water the grass and flowers. But our grass is green and happy, and the flowers are blooming (even though it's FREEZING), and I LOVE watching the clouds roll over the tops of the mountains and head our way!
I did NOT take this picture!!!!! But isn’t it COOL??!?!? Yah...maybe I won’t ride the teleférico during a lightning storm...
Oh my. My legs are tired! This morning, we got up and blasted through school so that Josh and I could leave by 11am... whew! We rode the teleférico up to the embassy where he taught his first photography class! It was pretty neat!
After class, we walked around the city—we found the LDS distribution center and got some hymn books and things... Then we walked to a place called La Paz on Foot, where I had an appointment to speak with the people there about arranging school trips and workshops!! It was amazing! We talked about everything we wanted to learn about and how we could incorporate all our curriculum—oh my! They focus on local culture and history, and indigenous flora/fauna. It’s exactly what I was hoping for! Very exciting.
After our meeting there, we walked down to another teleférico stop, but realized the rock climbing place was a block away! So off we went to check it out! Sadly, it was NOT what we had hoped for. Instead of a big gym with climbing walls like we had in Jordan a few years ago, it was a little shop that sells equipment and sets up climbing outings and courses out in the mountains. Don’t get me wrong, that’s really cool—but I don’t want a two day course in the mountains. I wanted a long course inside a climbing gym. Oh well. Time to think up plan B.
Anyway, we piled into a teleférico and coasted back down the mountain and met Claire in front of the church. Claire and Josh were supposed to be helping their seminary teachers learn English...but no one showed up! We waited until 5, when seminary was supposed to start, but still no one came. Sad! So we came back home via the grocery store where we got some Bolivian chocolate...mmmm...
When we walked in the door, i got a FABULOUS surprise: Claire, Andrew, and Peter had scoured the house! Wow! It looks SO nice! I have such great kids! They’re such a blessing to me! They cleaned the house and did all their homework and were awesome and responsible. Boy am I lucky!
What are some of the things that I love about Bolivia so far? Well, in the words of The Sound of Music, here are a few of my favorite things:
I'm sure there's more, but that's just a taste of all that I love here! On Saturday, Devin and I went on a hike to a park nearby that's on the side of a mountain. In this park is a super cool playground area, places to meditate and do Tai Chi (it specifically says 'Tai Chi', which I thought was funny), bird watching areas, lots of little walking trails, and even an area for camping! Near the camping site, there's a 'picnic area' that's open to the sky, and would be AWESOME to set up our telescope (once it gets here) as it has almost complete access to the sky!!!! It looks like that will be where we'll be doing our Astronomy labs, as it's pretty high above the city lights, so we should get some good sky watching! YAY!! And it's only like 1/2 mile from our house! I can't wait until all our camping gear and our telescope gets here--it will be so awesome! Just another thing to love!
Twice a year, our church puts on a big conference where our general church leaders speak and give us counsel and reminders. I really love it. It’s uplifting and peaceful. This is the first year in MANY years that we’ve been able to watch it live! Usually we’re way too many hours ahead and conference happens in the middle of the night. It’s nice to sit at home and listen to the prophet!!
There's also a women’s conference, and Claire and I were invited to a lovely sister’s home to watch it together! Such a special group of ladies! (Thanks to Sister Luchy for the photo!) We watched it all in Spanish—Claire was sad! 🤪 One talk didn’t get dubbed right away, and Claire perked right up and started scribbling away and the rest of the sisters were wondering what was going on! ☺️ After a few minutes the Spanish dubbing came back, and all the ladies sighed in relief while Claire groaned! Ha! It was funny! She is definitely getting immersed in the language here!! I love watching her pick it up bien rápido!
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
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